Opinion: Diawara is the perfect Dembele replacement for Tottenham

Tottenham fans weren’t happy with the performance of Mousa Dembele on Sunday, and they should look to replace the Belgian in January with Napoli outcast Amadou Diawara.

What’s the story?

Tottenham were heavily linked with a move for Tanguy Ndombele during the summer transfer window, and it’s pretty clear that Mauricio Pochettino is on the hunt for a long-term successor for Dembele.

The 31 year-old is a fan favourite in North London, but he was very poor in the 2-1 defeat at Watford, and plenty of fans suspect his time as an elite player has come to an end.

With Ndombele reportedly valued at more than £40m by Lyon, Spurs should turn their attention to Diawara, who is valued at just £16.2m by Transfermarkt.

The Guinean midfielder has started just one game under new Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti, and Spurs should be waiting in the wings to offer him a way out in January.

Half Dembele, half Wanyama?

Diawara is only 21, but his best performances at Napoli came in the 2016-17 season, as the incredible form of Jorginho last season cost him any chance of seeing regular playing time last year.

During that breakout season as a teenager, the youngster completed 90 per cent of his passes, a number that went up to 93 per cent last season, and also made 1.6 tackles and 2.3 interceptions per 90 minutes.

The tough tackling ace is an excellent shield for the defence, reading the game well and using his seemingly endless energy to hassle opponents for the full 90 minutes. His passing statistics show he is also tidy with the ball, which allows for quick transitions once the ball is turned over, something that is absolutely essential in the Premier League.

While his dribbling numbers aren’t great, averaging just 0.6 dribbles per 90 minutes in that 2016-17 season and 0.2 per 90 minutes last season, he is excellent at using his low centre of gravity to weave his way out of tough situations. With a little coaching to make his dribbling more progressive, he has the ability to do the job that Dembele did for Spurs in his prime.

Tottenham will absolutely have to invest in their midfield over the next 12 months or so, and swooping for a seemingly out of favour Diawara in January would be an excellent starting point. He tackles like Victor Wanyama, reads the game like Dembele, and passes the ball better than both of them.

So, Tottenham fans, should you take a gamble on Diawara in January? Or do you need proven talent instead of potential? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…